Ancient ‘luxury villa’ found at Kourion

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Digs at the ancient site of Kourion (Curium) have started revealing an early Byzantine cityscape with mosaic floors and signs of a cistern, the department of antiquities said yesterday following the completion of the first season of an excavation project. 

The cistern [Credit: Kourion Urban Space Project, 2012]

Archaeologists from the University of Cyprus and a Texas theological seminary hope to reveal how early Christians in Kourion lived.  

As part of the Kourion Urban Space Project (KUSP) archaeologists have found two mosaic floors and a floor fragment and have prepared them for conservation. The floor fragment is associated with a cistern. 

Future excavations will reveal the size and complexity of the mosaic floors, with one of them possibly including a figure and another decorated with geometric patterns.  

The foundations of a water structure – modified at least twice – have also been found. After the destruction of the city’s main aqueduct in an earthquake in 365AD, the Byzantines used the terrain to create flat surfaces for cisterns. 

Mosaic [Credit: Kourion Urban Space Project, 2012]

Excavators also think they have found a luxurious villa with mosaic floors, built to benefit from the sea breeze.  

Kourion’s remains include a theatre, still used today to house events, a market place, public baths and mosaics. Some 10,000 people are believed to have lived there. One of the aims of the excavators is to find evidence of a ‘house-church’ where early Christians would meet to worship in secrecy. 

They also hope to get a better sense of how people went about their daily lives. 

The project was headed by Thomas W. Davis of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

The team will build on previous work at the site including the recent Kourion Mapping Project in order to gain a better understanding of the urban space of Kourion and late Roman Cyprus. 

Source: Cyprus Mail [August 02, 2012]

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